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Originally published July 23, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 23, 2007 at 8:02 PM

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YouTube | CNN debate elicits nearly 3,000 user questions but content is still Politics 1.0

The first of its kind online presidential debate is scheduled for tonight. History will be made, if only to say it was the first time citizens were able to ask questions in a video format uploaded remotely.

Seattletimes.com staff

The first of its kind online presidential debate is scheduled for tonight. History will be made, if only to say it was the first time citizens were able to ask questions in a video format uploaded remotely.

For those who haven't yet heard, YouTube and CNN have paired to take questions from the public via the online video upload site and to be aired on CNN at 4. p.m. Pacific time. Whether it will elicit a different response from candidates than what can generally be heard along the trail is yet to be seen.

The premise for the format is that allowing user-submitted questions would engage the "YouTube demographic" and offer a ground-level discourse generally left out of more produced debates seen each election year. A cursory look at some of the videos (there are currently 2,989 video questions) shows that for the most part the issues raised are not new. Such major issues as the war, immigration, health-care and education are the norm in a form that generally has a user talking into a webcam for 30 seconds or less. Not nearly the new-fangled mashup land that was speculated early on.

Nonetheless 50 or so clips will be selected by CNN and posed to the long list of Democratic contenders. The textbooks will need to note that it was not direct to the candidates. CNN's production team will be choosing them.

Here is a sampling of what you may or may not see tonight:

Bjorn, who is dressed as a Viking and claims to be originally from Norway, wants to know what the candidates plan to do about illegal immigration.

Student Flonora Merritt of Washington, D.C., wants to know what the candidates will do so that every child will get the same quality education regardless of public or private institution.

Kris Garriott from Panama City, Panama, wants to know how the candidates would restore integrity to the White House.

A computer generated animation wants to know if it should be taboo to be excessively wealthy.

Kate and her small child Ella, from York, Me., want to know what the next President will do to fight global warming.

An 81-year-old World War II veteran wants to know how bad the consequences would be financially if the Democrats loose this election.

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One user wants to know what will be done about safety in schools.

Sharon Fox from San Rafael, Calif., dresses like an outlaw and demands to know what will be done to stop predatory lending.

Ilya, Auburn Hills, Mich., wants to know how the candidates feel about creating an open candidacy process where the best qualified candidate will make it on the ballot.

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